Comic touch

The wit and whimsy of Justin Moor­house

Cheshire Life - - Inside -

I’m all for straight talk­ing. I am firmly of the opin­ion that half of the prob­lems of the world could be solved with brazen hon­esty. Not the type of “I speak my mind, I do” hon­esty that is usu­ally a cover for rude­ness, more the “let’s be hon­est with each other from the out­set” kind.

This col­umn ev­ery month al­lows me to do some straight talk­ing. I’m very aware my monthly of­fer­ings in this col­umn can of­ten feel like I’m un­leash­ing a bar­rage of whiny di­a­tribe to­wards my fam­ily. That’s be­cause it is, to be hon­est. I think this isn’t so much a bit of work for me, more ther­apy. I’ve en­joy the chance to say what I want with­out the eye-rolling and su­pe­rior at­ti­tude from one of my chil­dren. That’s slightly un­fair, most of the time my con­ver­sa­tions go unan­swered un­less you count the heavy sigh, the swivel of foot and slam of the door as be­ing a re­ply.

I’ve been a dad now for 21 years. It’s the sin­gle long­est thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s un­paid hard work if we are hon­est. Yeah, yeah, there’s all that un­con­di­tional love non­sense peo­ple tell you about, love that knows no im­ped­i­ment, an un­shake­able bond be­tween par­ent and child...i ac­cept that, but I raise you with own­ing a Labrador. My dog Coco dis­plays the same level of love, com­mit­ment and loy­alty I strive for in my off­spring, and she’s never an­swered me back.

If she had I’d prob­a­bly not be both­er­ing writ­ing this col­umn, me and her would prob­a­bly be do­ing a show in Ve­gas. She’s never asked for a lift home at two in the morn­ing, a ten­ner ‘just for some food’ or ex­pected me to pack a lunch for her that on the sur­face ap­pears ap­peal­ing but has all the es­sen­tial foods groups cov­ered and is un­likely to be judged by lunch staff at school.

A friend of mine was ac­costed by what we used to call a din­ner lady when I was a kid but now is prob­a­bly called a nu­tri­tion su­per­vi­sion op­er­a­tive one day at his lo­cal su­per­mar­ket. This NSO / DL was keen to check my mate wasn’t buy­ing salt and sug­ar­laden rub­bish for his kids’ packed lunches. He said it was lucky she had caught him at the be­gin­ning of his shop as by the check­out his trol­ley would’ve been groan­ing with such il­licit goods. Though for him, rather than his kids. He’s of the school of thought that what­ever school lunches cost it’s good value com­pared to get­ting out of bed and try­ing to rus­tle up some­thing in­ter­est­ing and nu­tri­tious.

His kids once asked for packed lunches, he took the op­por­tu­nity to launch into an im­pas­sioned ex­pla­na­tion about time man­age­ment, let­ting the ex­perts do the jobs they’re trained for, and if dad did make the lunches, it might be the tini­est dif­fer­ence that re­duces the cater­ing staff at school by one per­son. Did they re­ally want to run the risk of some­one los­ing their job just be­cause they fan­cied a sand­wich for lunch? Did they re­ally want to be re­spon­si­ble for the cut­ting of a nu­tri­tion su­per­vi­sion op­er­a­tive? He’s quite the straight talker.

He’s the man who once had an in­cred­i­ble meet­ing with a do­mes­tic re­cy­cling of­fi­cer. That’s right, a do­mes­tic re­cy­cling of­fi­cer, that’s not a new name for a bin man in the spirit of re­nam­ing jobs like din­ner lady – a bin man is now called waste man­age­ment and dis­posal tech­ni­cian. No, this guy was from the coun­cil, and he was check­ing the do­mes­tic re­cy­cling in the area.

He knocked on my mate’s door, showed him iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and asked if he could look through his bins. My friend, while be­mused couldn’t see any harm in let­ting him and left him to it. He re­turned a few mo­ments later, clip­board in hand, pen check­ing things off a list. ‘Good, very good,’ he of­fers. ‘Thanks,’ my friend replies. ‘Yes, yes all seems to be great, ex­cept one tiny thing.’ ‘One tiny thing?’ ‘Yes, all is good, the pa­per is in the right bin, the glass is sorted cor­rectly, just one lit­tle thing and I feel a bit pedan­tic say­ing this, but if you could just tear your teabags be­fore you put them in the food re­cy­cling, it’d re­ally help the break­down process.’

My friend pauses, col­lects his thoughts, ar­ranges his words to be straight talk­ing enough and says: ‘Mate, China is build­ing cities year upon year with pop­u­la­tions larger than our en­tire coun­try, do you hon­estly think me tear­ing my teabags will make the slight­est bit of dif­fer­ence to the global cli­mate change catas­tro­phe that we’re head­ing to­wards?’

The do­mes­tic re­cy­cling of­fi­cer re­placed the lid on his pen, popped it in his pocket, and replied in a straighttalk­ing fash­ion that my friend ap­pre­ci­ated

‘Ahhh, that’s all well and good, but you see I don’t cover China, just Chorl­ton and parts of Whal­ley Range.’

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